Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Postseason Tournament Picks Part VI

ACC
Regular Season Champ- North Carolina
Predicted Tournament Champ- Duke

North Carolina won the ACC by two games over Duke and Wake Forest but it appears as though Ty Lawson won’t play in the ACC tournament so I can’t pick UNC to win it all. Wake Forest is extremely talented but is very young and has had problems winning away from home in conference play. Florida St. has the toughest road with a second round game against Clemson likely. Duke will probably play BC in their first tournament game and although BC beat them this season that game was at BC and since then Duke has beat Wake and Florida St. among others. I expect them to beat Wake Forest in the semis and then beat whomever they face in the finals. UNC, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Florida St. all have bids locked up. BC, Miami Fl., Virginia Tech, and Maryland all need at least one win to feel safe with BC looking to be the safest of the bunch.

Big Ten
Regular Season Champ- Michigan St.
Predicted Tournament Champ- Michigan St.

Michigan St. won the Big Ten by four games going 15-3 in the process. Teams two through nine are pretty even and each can beat the other so no road is easy. Although Michigan St. won’t have an easy road, a potential road of Minnesota, Ohio St., and Purdue is easier than any other team will have. Purdue will probably have Penn St., Illinois, and Michigan St. while Illinois could have to play Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan St. That coupled with the fact Michigan St. could be a one seed with a conference tournament win means Michigan St. is the pick. In addition to Michigan St., Illinois and Purdue have bids locked up. Wisconsin, Ohio St., Minnesota, Penn St., and Michigan all could use a win to feel safe and could still get in even with a first round loss. If Northwestern beats Minnesota and Michigan St. then they would be in the conversation and could get their first bid in the school’s history

Pac-10
Regular Season Champ- Washington
Predicted Tournament Champ- UCLA

UCLA should have an easy first round game against either Oregon or Washington St. They would then play the winner of the Cal/USC game whom they went 4-0 against in the regular season. So their path to finals is relatively easy. There a rubber match against Washington likely awaits and with the game in LA, UCLA is the pick. In addition to UCLA, Washington, Arizona St., and Cal have bids locked up. Arizona probably just needs to beat Arizona St. to feel safe while USC needs two wins to get in.

SEC
Regular Season Champ- LSU
Predicted Tournament Champ- Tennessee

LSU would have been the easy pick last week but they lost two to end the regular season and the conference tournament is wide open. Any of teams could come from off to the radar and win the tournament like Georgia did last year. Tennessee is my pick because they seemingly have the easiest road and they have the most talent of any SEC team but really any team can win. LSU and Tennessee are both safe for at-large bids if they need them while Florida and South Carolina both need a win to feel safe while Auburn needs two to get in the at-large discussion and Kentucky needs two or three.

Southland
Regular Season Champ- Stephen F. Austin
Predicted Tournament Champ- Stephen F. Austin

SFA won the automatic bid last year and they are the favorites to win again this year. All of their conference losses came on the road including losing games against their potential second round opponent and final opponent but I think SFA prevails against any and all teams in their tournament.

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